Let me mention a bit about the Swarthmore Folk Festival. This year's was held on March 10 and 11, on the Swarthmore campus. That's a pretty decent drive from where I live, so I only managed to get out there on Friday night. The concert I saw had two performers: the Greenbriar Boys and Richie Havens. The Greenies are great; the addition of Eric Weissberg as banjoist was beautiful. They are as smooth as ever, and every bit as entertaining. The audience went nuts, which is saying a lot, because Swarthmorerites, I have heard, by and large have demonstrated pretty good musical taste.
Richie Havens was making his first appearance in the area, and many people there had never heard or heard of him before. What happened was great; they dug him. It's good to be an observer to a discovery, almost as good as being part of it. These people discovered Havens, that is, they had never heard him before, and all of a sudden come along a new talent they didn't know existed. Their enthusiasm was heartening, especially since I've seen that same enthusiasm for the same performer in another audience, Newport '66. It looks like Richie will be a hit out there from now on.
I didn't get to see the rest of the festival which included another concert (J. D. Hutto and the Hawks, and Skip James) and some workshops, but if they were of the same caliber as the Friday concert, then I guess the festival was a success.
This past week was a real Canadian Festival here in Philly. The Second Fret had Joni Mitchell in for two weeks, and the Main Point featured Gorden [sic] Lightfoot. Now you've all heard me talk about these two before, and you know how fond I am of them. Joni is a fine writer, one of the most promising around. Many of her songs are well known already, and I am sure that more will come. I have no qualms about predicting that she will be a major performer in the not too distant future. Her voice is excellent: moving and easy to listen to.
Gorden [sic] was here with his trio, the same as the last time: John Steckfish on electric bass, and Red Shea on guitar. Both are Torontonians, both are fine musicians, The sound the trio has together is very good, and was received that way. Lightfoot has many new songs, some of which are outstanding. You will be hearing them soon, I think. They have recorded a new album for United Artists, which should be up for release in a month or so, hopefully. It has been described to me as a full sound, instruments, effects, everything. Look for it.
To cap off the weekend, Gene Shay, on his Folklore show, had a Canadian night, featuring Joni, Gorden [sic], and myself. It was a ball, and informative, too, because the audience got a glimpse of where folk music is in it Canada, and take it from me, it's out of sight.
Things to look forward to: Tom Rush and the Kweskins to the Main Point in April, Steve Gillette coming up at the Fret. Spring ought to be here soon, or at least that's what they tell me, As I write this, it's the second day of Spring and it's still snowing. I hope that by the time you get to read it, there'll be birds around, flowers, warmth, sun.....YAAAAAAAAAAH.
May the gods smile on thee!
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Added to Library on July 9, 2021. (614)
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